Part 5 - WTH (what-the-heck) is Going on With the Vaccine?
It doesn't matter who you are or where you live in the United States, I think we can all agree that getting a Covid Vaccine is a @#$% show. At the same time bureaucratic snafus, delivery problems and lack of planning has bogged down the initial rollout, the White House, news headlines and public health department have announced that people over age 65 are now eligible. (In 2016 that was 49 million)
This has created a flurry of anxious shot recipients, all trying to find out how and where to get the vaccine and it is creating anxiety, FOMO, jealousy and anger.
My brother-in-law in Hawaii, healthy, age 56 is getting the Covid vaccine next week. A healthy 35 year old psychologist who does only video visits got vaccinated today. Hundreds of primary care physicians are scattered around the country (all frontline-high risk) and because they have no connection to large health systems or Universities, they have no inroads to get the vaccine. A well known subscription medical practice promised new paid subscribers of any age that they could get it...and then the system crashed. Large health systems and Universities are signing up people over age 75 but many are waiting on hold for up to four hours. Local Health Departments are vaccinating community psychologists and physical therapists but the hold time for an appointment can be up to 6 hours. In my home town the health department had to quickly shut down an online site meant for health workers when it got shared on social media and thousands of non-eligible patients logged on. But really, what does "eligible" mean in the current chaos when it depends upon where you live and if you have access to special inroads?
Getting an appointment for the vaccine is like scoring the Golden Willy Wonka Ticket. I'm getting emails and texts from patients that are thrilled with a future appointment and my response is "congratulations", as if they have won the prize.
So what do people living with fear and vaccination chaos do now?
Everyone needs to take a big deep breath. More bad news came out today. After a promising announcement earlier this week from Operation Warp Speed — that the government would release more vaccine doses that were being held in reserve — it was dashed when the group admitted to states that the reserves never existed. Governors and Health Departments are tearing out their hair now. The Vaccine that was promised will certainly be delayed.
In time, everyone will have access to the Covid-19 Vaccine. More will be developed, large scale vaccine centers and pharmacies will come online and we will get better each week.
The most accurate information will come from your local health department, your doctor if she is part of a University or large health system or Kaiser. Getting the vaccine from the bottle into the arm is harder than we thought. Stay informed but also be patient.